We’re firmly in the digital era and companies across all industries have begun adjusting to that reality. Healthcare companies in particular have been conducting more and more of their business online. However, this shift creates new issues that businesses in this space need to be mindful of -- particularly in the area of cybersecurity.
More specifically, your healthcare company needs to be extremely careful to ensure it protects the health data it collects on its website. Breaches can be incredibly costly and may forever stain the reputation of your company. Keep reading to learn more about the types of data you need to protect and how to do it.
Identifying The Data You Need to Protect
The first step in protecting your clients’ health data is to understand which parts of that data must be protected. The answer to that question lies in the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability (HIPAA) Act.
HIPAA introduced an acronym called PHI, which stands for Protected Health Information. As the name suggests, this is what your website needs to protect. It includes any information that could be used to identify an individual’s health information. That includes their name, social security number, address, birth date, and many other types of information. For a complete list of what’s included in PHI, check out this free online resource.
The penalties for failing to protect your clients’ PHI can be steep. Fines can range from $100 to $50,000 per violation and vary based on your company’s level of culpability. According to the HIPAA Journal, the average cost of a healthcare data breach is $429 per record. These costs can add up quickly, as companies tend to leak many records at a time when breaches do occur.
How to Protect Your Clients’ PHI
Protecting your clients’ PHI requires creating a website that’s been designed for that purpose. There are several key steps that your healthcare company should take to ensure it remains HIPAA compliant Here’s a quick checklist you can consider to identify how much your business is doing to protect its clients’ PHI:
- Implement an SSL certificate for your website
- Secure and encrypt all of your website’s forms
- Only send emails that contain PHI through encrypted servers
- Limit access to your clients’ PHI to authorized individuals only
- Establish clear processes to delete and restore PHI as needed
Partnering With a Web Development Company Helps
Implementing the protocols and features necessary for protecting your clients’ PHI can be challenging. One way to make the burden easier on your company is to partner with a web development company that can handle the work for you. Onsharp would be happy to offer you a free consultation if your company would like some help with protecting the PHI it collects.
We recently completed a website design project for the Treatment Collaborative for Traumatized Youth (TCTY), which is a mental healthcare organization based in Fargo, ND. We addressed their PHI security concerns through a careful site design process and helped them partner with website hosting and maintenance services that specialize in HIPAA compliance. Reach out and we’ll tell you how we can do the same for your company.
Download the PDF version
Click on the button below to download the PDF version of this blog post. Feel free to print or share with your business colleagues, or send them a link to this article.